It’s fast approaching 2017’s flagship smartphone season and the arrival of two very important handsets for Samsung and LG – the Galaxy S8 and the LG G6. For Samsung, this upcoming launch represents an opportunity to recapture momentum after the Note 7 fiasco, while LG is looking for a turnaround after the disappointing reception of the G5. But which handset is looking the more interesting? It’s time to dive into some of the rumored specifications and features to find out.
Starting with the most obvious, we can certainly expect that both the Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6 will ship with Qualcomm’s recently announced Snapdragon 835 processing package. We haven’t heard much about the possibility of a next generation Exynos processor from Samsung, but if such a chip is in development, and it seems likely that it is, we can probably expect it to debut inside the Galaxy S8 as well, possibly following the regional variation patterns of the past. We obviously don’t want to try to compare performance with a chip that may or may not exist, but Qualcomm has made big efforts to improve CPU efficiency and GPU performance with the 835, and a next generation Exynos on a 10nm process with a Mali-G71 GPU would likely be highly competitive.
Other hardware rumors have pointed to a huge 6GB RAM configuration inside the Galaxy S8 and it seems likely that a lot of flagships will opt for a larger RAM pool this generation. Lower cost flagship manufacturers, such as OnePlus and ASUS, have been pushing the envelope in terms of RAM count, and more costly phones can’t really show up months later with inferior hardware. Furthermore, a greater amount of faster RAM will also be very useful for virtual reality applications. It’s also likely that both phones will make use of fast UFS main memory, and other reports suggest that Samsung may debut UFS memory card support via a new hybrid card slot.
Here’s a quick overview of the hardware specifications that a number of rumors seem to be alluding to. Although obviously some of these features may not actually end up in the finished products. You know rumors.
|Samsung Galaxy S8||LG G6|
2880x1440 (18:9 aspect ratio)
|SoC||Snapdragon 835||Snapdragon 835|
|CPU Config||4x 2.45GHz Kryo 280|
4x 1.9GHz Kryo 280
|4x 2.45GHz Kryo 280
4x 1.9GHz Kryo 280
|GPU||Adreno 540||Adreno 540|
|Memory card||MicroSD and UFS||MicroSD|
|Camera||Single rear sensor||Dual rear sensors|
|Extras||USB Type-C, IP68 rating, wireless charging, Quick Charge 4, iris scanner, fingerprint scaner||USB Type-C, waterproof, wireless charging, Quick Charge 4, iris scanner, fingerprint scanner|
|Mobile $||Android Pay, Samsung Pay||Android Pay, LG Pay|
|OS||Android 7.1 Nougat||Android 7.1 Nougat|
As with most recent flagship generations, we’re expecting the processing hardware to produce pretty much identical performance. What’s really going to separate these handsets is the extra features packed in. LG begins its product differentiation with a confirmed QHD+ resolution display that features a 18:9 aspect ratio as well as in-TOUCH technology, which brings touch controls into the display hardware to reduce bezel size and increase brightness. The Galaxy S8 is pegged to feature a familiar QHD Super AMOLED display as before but this may feature a diamond pentile pattern that will increase the pixel density over its existing RBG layout. The S8 is also rumored to come with a smaller bezel that will push the handset towards a 90 percent screen-to-body ratio, as well as Force Touch technology.
There's looking to be quite a lot of feature crossover between the two handsets, more so than in previous generations.
As for cameras, we imagine that LG will be sticking with its now tried and tested dual camera setup, and will likely be sticking with the wide angle option. Samsung has been rumored to be working on a dual camera setup of its own, but component costs may prevent this from actually making it into the final product. Either way, we can certainly expect a strong camera performance from both flagships again next year. Minor improvements here, but ones that consumers will likely appreciate in terms of what it means for the phones’ designs.
In terms of extras, Samsung will likely be bringing many of the Galaxy Note 7’s features over to the S8. We can expect a USB Type-C port, possible at the expensive of a 3.5mm headphone jack, along with the iris scanning technology that made its debut in the Note 7. Other than that, Samsung also appears to be lining up a faster wireless charging solution, fast charging, and a new optical fingerprint sensor. However, the major selling feature with the Galaxy S8 looks set to be the company’s Bixby virtual assistant. Bixby is said to be built into Samsung’s other apps to allow for deep integration and a wide range of voice controlled interactions.
We haven’t heard anything about a virtual assistant from LG, but the company looks to be closing in on Samsung’s feature set. The LG G6 has been rumored to include its own fast charging option and a waterproof body, although we’re not sure exactly what IP rating the handset will have yet. LG also unveiled its own all-in-one iris scanning module and has long been expected to include a MST based mobile payment system known as LG Pay, both of which may finally appear in the G6. The design is also rumored to come with a tempered glass back or metal unibody, which, along with waterproofing, would mean that the modular design of the G5 is out of the window. There’s looking to be quite a lot of feature and design crossover between the two handsets, more so than in previous generations.
If all of this turns out to be true, we could be looking at a LG flagship that is as feature rich as the Galaxy S8. This could perhaps make for a tougher consumer choice than in previous years, but that’s no bad thing. There’s certainly a lot to look forward to in both of these upcoming handsets, but are there are particular features that you really want to see in next years flagships? Are any of these rumors likely to sway you towards one handset or the other?